JANUARY 19: 9:45 a.m. Janis Lyn Joplin born to Seth and Dorothy Joplin at St. Mary’s Hospital, Port Arthur, Texas.


Joins the Bluebirds, junior Girl Scouts.


Reads about Kerouac and the Beats in Time magazine.


JUNE: Graduates from Thomas Jefferson High. Enrolls at Lamar College in nearby Beaumont.

SUMMER – Attends Lamar Tech College. Visits Houston, hangs out in Venice, California. Falls in with local beatnik scene.

FALL – Returns to Port Arthur in sheepskin jacket to “spread the word.”


DECEMBER 31: New Year’s Eve – Has first public singing engagement at the Halfway House in Beaumont.


JANUARY: Begins singing at the Purple Onion in Houston. Records a jingle, “This Bank Is Your Bank,” for a bank in Nacogdoches. Classes at Lamar Tech.

SUMMER: Waitress in a bowling ally. Hangs out at Louisiana bars across the river. Leaves with Jack Smith for Austin and moves into folk/beat apartment house known as the Ghetto. Enrolls in Fine Arts Program at the University of Texas in Austin. Sings, accompanying herself on autoharp, as part of local bluegrass band, the Waller Creek Boys (Powell St. John on harmonica and Larry Wiggins on bass) at the Union Building on Sunday afternoons and at Threadgill’s Bar & Grill, a converted gas station, on Wednesday evenings. Repertoire consists of Leadbelly, Bessie Smith, Jean Ritchie, Rosie Maddox, and bluegrass.

FALL: Dealing grass on campus, experimenting with peyote and taking massive doses of seconal. Voted “Ugliest Man on Campus.” Chet Helms, an old Austin acquaintance, returns from San Francisco and tells her about the post – Beat scene.


JANUARY 23: Hitches to San Francisco with Chet. Two days later is singing in North Beach (San Francisco) coffeehouse, passing the hat for beers. Often sings a cappella at the Coffee Confusion and the Coffee Gallery, occasionally accompanied by Jorma Kaukonen (future guitarist with Jefferson Airplane). Sings Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey blues with folksingers Roger Perkins and Larry Hanks. Hangs out with David Crosby and Nick Gravenites. Lives off passing the hat, part-time jobs and unemployment. Begins drinking heavily, also taking speed. Meets Peter Albin, future bass player for Big Brother (played with J. P. Pickens in a “progressive” bluegrass band), and Jim Gurley, Big Brother lead guitarist, at the Coffee Gallery, where they all perform on a semiregular basis.

SPRING: Peter Albin and brother, Rodney, form their first band, the Liberty Hill Aristocrats – first gig at San Francisco Folk Festival.

SUMMER: Janis sings at Monterey Folk Festival, is involved in motorcycle accident, gets beaten up in a street brawl and is arrested for shoplifting.

FALL: Returns to San Francisco, performs on KPFA radio’s Midnight Special.


SUMMER: Living in New York on Lower East Side. Reading Hesse and Nietzscge, shooting pool (and speed), occasionally singing at Slug’s.


MAY: Attempts (unsuccessfully) to get herself committed to San Francisco General Hospital.

JUNE: Returns repentant and apparently reformed to Port Arthur. Registers in Sociology at Lamar Tech.

FALL: Sings at the Eleventh Door in Austin. – Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Peter Albin and “Weird” Jim Gurley begin to assemble a band called Blue Yard Hill at 1090 Page Street. Begin playing at rent parties held in the basement, with newly recruited member Sam Andrew, a student at San Francisco State. Peter, Rodney, Chuck Jones (Big Brother’s first drummer) and Chet Helms of the Family Dog, are all living in the huge Victorian house at 1090 Page, originally an Irish boarding house, owned by Albin’s parents. On weekends, Chet organized jam session/dance parties in the basement. Sam Andrew (future guitar player with Big Brother) is a friend of someone who is now also hanging out at 1090 Page. Peter Albin has taught himself to play bass, and Paul Ferraz (a|k|a Beck), Big Brother’s original manager, suggests putting an ad in the paper for a guitar player. David Eskeson answers the ad and the group (Peter and Rodney Albin, Chuck Jones, Sam Andrew and David Eskeson) start making up names for the band: Tom Swift and the Electric Grandmother, the Greenleaf Boys, the Acapulco Singers, etc. Two other possible names (Big Brother, the Holding Company) come up while playing Monopoly. They name the band after a combination of the two. Peter announces the mission of Big Brother & the Holding Company: “To speak to all the children of the earth.” They play blues, bluegrass, Rolling Stones style R&B, Dylan, and folk/rock numbers like “I Know You, Rider” in local bars and clubs. David Eskeson is under 21, which excludes them from a number of gigs in places that have a liquor license. He is eventually replaced as drummer Dave Getz, a teacher at the Art Institute by day, and a waiter at the Spaghetti factory by night. Jim Gurley, who knows Chet from the Family Dog house on Page, begins dropping by to sit in on sessions. Plays acoustic guitar with a mike stuck on it. Gurley, known as “the fastest fingers in the West,” brings a decided touch of craziness to the group with his concept of “freak rock,” a psychedelic synthesis of progressive jazz, raga riffs, hard rock and sound effects. In late ’65 Big Brother makes their debut at a benefit for the Open Theater in Berkeley (again in the basement of 1090 Page).


JANUARY: Singing in Austin clubs – still mainly Bessie Smith and folk blues numbers.

JANUARY 22: Big Brother plays their first official gig. Aided by Donald Buchla’s synthesizer, they perform, along with the Grateful Dead, in the legendary first Trips Festival at the Longshoreman’s Hall. Their repertoire consists of freak jazz – Sun Ra, Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders – R&B, music of the Mystic East and fuzz tone/feedback distortion.

FEBRUARY 19: Big Brother play at the first “Tribal Stomp” at the Fillmore. This is drummer Chuck Jones’s last gig with the group. He is replaced by Dave Getz. For the next four or five months they play Bay Area gigs. Of one of these, a San Francisco newspaperman says, “a quintet of Liverpool like singers and long hair and loud guitars.” From their association with Chet Helms, who is now acting as their manager, the group has a regular weekend gig as the house band at the Avalon Ballroom (for which Chet books bands).

MARCH: At a benefit for Texas blues singer Teodar Jackson, Janis sings “Going to Brownsville,” “I Ain’t Got To Worry,” and Buffy St. Marie’s “Codeine.”

MAY: Considers joining Texas blues/rock group, the Thirteen Floor Elevators. Chet and the band, seeing success of other bands with female lead singers (Jefferson Airplane with Signe Anderson and the Great Society with Grace Slick), consider adding a “chick singer” to the group. Chet suggests an old friend from his Austin days: Janis Joplin. Dispatches Travis Rivers, Janis’s old high school friend from Port Arthur, to go to Texas and persuade her to come to San Francisco and try out as lead singer for Big Brother.

MAY 10: Janis leaves with Travis for San Francisco, by way of Austin.

JUNE 4: Arrives in San Francisco.

JUNE 10: Performs with Big Brother for the first time – at the Avalon Ballroom.

JUNE 19: St. Francis Hotel. Tim Leary Benefit.

JULY 1: Moves to a house in Lagunitas in the San Geronimo Valley with members of Big Brother, their wives and girlfriends.

JULY 17 – JULY 18: The Avalon.

JULY 28: Performs at California Hall (on Cheaper Thrills). Bob Shad, who in Detroit, comes to San Francisco to audition bands. Wants to sign Big Brother, but Chet vetoes it.

AUGUST 5 – AUGUST 6: The Avalon with Bo Diddley.

AUGUST 7: The Fillmore.

AUGUST 12 – AUGUST 13: The Avalon.

AUGUST 23: Band begin a four week engagement at Mother Blues in Chicago. Broke and desperate, they sign with Mainstream Records. (They have, by now, fired Chet as their manager.) After signing, Shad refuses to give them an advance or airfare back to San Francisco. The album is recorded in Chicago and Los Angeles. Having made himself producer, Shad refuses to allow the band in the studio during the final mix. The album is released only after Big Brother’s triumphant appearance at the Monterey Pop festival the following year.

OCTOBER 6 – OCTOBER 7: Big Brother, at the suggestion of their new manager Julius Karpen, move back to San Francisco. They perform at the Love Pageant Rally in Golden Gate Park.

OCTOBER 8: The Avalon.

OCTOBER 15 – OCTOBER 16: The Avalon.

NOVEMBER 1 – NOVEMBER 6: The Matrix.

NOVEMBER 25 – NOVEMBER 26: The Avalon.

DECEMBER 9 – DECEMBER 10: The Avalon.


NOVEMBER 30: Other 1967 appearances include clubs in Seattle and Vancouver, Cheetah/Los Angeles, Psychedelic Supermarket/Boston, Golden Bear Club/Huntington Beach, Straight Theater/San Francisco and Mother Blues/Chicago.

JANUARY 1: Along with the Grateful Dead and the Diggers’ band, Orkustra, Big Brother perform at the New Year’s Wail/Whale in Panhandle Park – the Hell’s Angels thank you party celebrating the bailing out of Chocolate George by the Haight Ashbury community.

JANUARY 14: Big Brother perform at the first Be-In in Golden Gate park. Also in attendance: the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sir Douglas Quintet, Loading Zone, etc.

JANUARY 17: The Matrix.

JANUARY 22: The Matrix.

JANUARY 31: Matrix performance. “Amazing Grace/High Heel Sneakers Medley” (on Farewell Song.)

FEBRUARY 5: Performance at California Hall with Blue Cheer, sponsored by Hell’s Angels as a benefit for Hairy Harry. Performance delayed while University of California law students finish bar exams.

FEBRUARY 10 – FEBRUARY 11: At a concert at the Golden Sheaf Bakery in Berkely, Janis meets Country Joe MacDonald, whose group, the Fish are also on the bill. Shortly afterwards, Janis moves in with Country Joe.

FEBRUARY 17 – FEBRUARY 18: Second Annual Tribal Stomp, celebrating the first anniversary of the Family Dog, at the Avalon Ballroom. Quicksilver Messenger Service also on the bill. Chet Helms promises to provide “dance provocateurs” to incite audience participation.

FEBRUARY 19: The Fillmore with Jefferson Airplane.

FEBRUARY 24: Performs “Amazing Grace” at the Invisible Circus/Rite of Spring event for Glide Memorial Church. Michael McClure, among others, participates.

MARCH 4: Performs with Steve Miller Band in Journey to the End of Night event at California Medical Center auditorium.

MARCH 17 – MARCH 18: Avalon Ballroom with Sir Douglas Quintet and Charles Lloyd.

MARCH 31: The Avalon.

APRIL 1: The Avalon.

APRIL 11: The Fillmore.

APRIL 12 – APRIL 13: Winterland.

APRIL 21 – APRIL 23: The Fillmore.

APRIL 25 – APRIL 26: The Matrix.

MAY 5 – MAY 7: Avalon with Sir Douglas Quintet and Orkestra.

MAY 12 – MAY 13: Winterland.

MAY 24 – MAY 26: Carousel Ballroom with the Clara Ward Singers and H. P. Lovecraft.

MAY 26 – MAY 27: The Fillmore.

JUNE 2 – JUNE 3: California Hall.

JUNE 8 – JUNE 11: The Avalon.

JUNE 17: First performance at Monterey Pop Festival, on Saturday afternoon, along with Canned Heat, Al Kooper, Steve Miller Band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Mike Bloomfield and the Electric Flag.

JUNE 18: Second performance of Big Brother added Sunday night so that they can be filmed for D. A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop along with the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Mamas and Papas, and the Blues Project.

JUNE 21: Big Brother perform at Summer Solstice celebrations in Golden Gate Park (with Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, etc.), using equipment borrowed from Monterey Pop.

JUNE 24 – JUNE 25: The Avalon with Quicksilver Messenger Service.

JULY 31: Benefit for Free Clinic along with Blue Cheer, Charlatans (with Bill Crosby on drums), etc.

AUGUST 11: Digger Emmett Grogan announces travelling San Francisco tribal tour.

AUGUST 12 – AUGUST 13: The Avalon.

AUGUST 25 – AUGUST 27: The Avalon.

SEPTEMBER 8 – SEPTEMBER 9: Performs in Denver, Colorado.

SEPTEMBER 15: The Hollywood Bowl.

OCTOBER 6: Police close down the Matrix during Big Brother performance.

OCTOBER 7 – OCTOBER 8: Avalon with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and Electric Train.

OCTOBER 15 – OCTOBER 16: The Avalon.

OCTOBER 28 – OCTOBER 29: The Peacock Country Club in San Raphael.

OCTOBER 31: Big Brother signs management deal with Albert Grossman.

NOVEMBER 2: The Fillmore.

NOVEMBER 3 – NOVEMBER 4: Winterland.

NOVEMBER 13: Avalon Zenefit for the Zen Mountain Center (with the Dead and Quicksilver).

NOVEMBER 23 – NOVEMBER 24: Dance at California Hall with the Friendly Stranger.

NOVEMBER 25: The Avalon.

DECEMBER: Home to Port Arthur for Christmas.

DECEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 31: Winterland.


FEBRUARY: Appearances in Boston, Cambridge, Providence and Chicago.

FEBRUARY 17: First New York appearance. At the Anderson Theatre. Rave reviews in the New York Times, Village Voice, etc. Sign with Columbia Records.

MARCH-APRIL: Sessions for Cheap Thrills at Columbia’s Studio E in New York. The band now billed as “Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company.” Janis getting massive media attention. Big Brother feel Janis is on a “star trip,” treating them like a back up band. Others are telling Janis the band is terrible and that she ought to dump them.

MARCH 1: First attempts to “capture” Big Brother live at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit (on Janis Live album).

MARCH 8: Opens the Fillmore East.

APRIL: Cheap Thrills sessions continue at Clumbia’s Hollywood studios.

APRIL 2: The New Generation in New York.

APRIL 10: The Anaheim Convention in New York.

APRIL 11: ABC – TV’s Hollywood Palace.

APRIL 13: Winterland in San Francisco. Live Recording on Farewell Song.

MAY 12: San Francisco Valley State College.

JUNE: The group returns to New York for more sessions. By now there are over 200 reels of tape in the can, but producer John Simon thinks none of it is of good enough quality to be released. Meanwhile, the orders are so huge that Cheap Thrills is already certified gold. Columbia president Clive Davis insists the album be released immediately.

JUNE 23: The Carousel Ballroom.

JUNE 24: The Avalon.

AUGUST: Performs at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. Cheap Thrills released. Sells over a million copies in the first month of release (despite mixed reviews).

AUGUST 3: The Fillmore East with the Staples Singers.

AUGUST 23: The Singer Bowl, New York.

AUGUST 30 – SEPTEMBER 1: The Palace of Fine Arts Festival in San Francisco.

SEPTEMBER: Manager Albert Grossman announces an “amicable split” between Janis and Big Brother.

OCTOBER: Janis now constantly seen with her symbol – a bottle of Southern Comfort. Has boosted the company’s sales to such an extent that she “extorts” a lynx coat from them . “What a hustle! Can you imagine? Getting paid for passing out for two years!”

NOVEMBER: Plays the Aragon and Cheetah in Chicago.

NOVEMBER 15: Last East Coast performance with Big Brother at Hunter College in Manhattan.

NOVEMBER 20: Albert Grossman asks Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites to help Janis put together a new band.

NOVEMBER 30: Big Brother perform in Vancouver, Canada.

DECEMBER: Other appearances include Cincinnati, the NARM Convention/Puerto Rico, the Electric Factory/Philadelphia, the University of Buffalo Music Festival, the Electric Theater and Kinetic Playground/Chicago, the Kaleidoscope/Los Angeles, and the Avalon and Fillmore/San Francisco.

DECEMBER 1: Big Brother’s last performance, with the Family Dog in San Francisco.

DECEMBER 18 – DECEMBER 19: In San Francisco Bloomfield and Gravenites assemble and rehearse the new group. A long list of names proposed (Janis Joplin & the Joplinaires, the Janis Joplin Review, etc. ) but band eventually becomes the Kozmic Blues band.

DECEMBER 20: Kozmic Blues booked to make first appearance at the Stax/Volt “Yuletide Thing” in Memphis. Still untogether, have frantic last minute rehearsals at Studio B of Stax/Volt Records in Memphis. That night they attend the Stax/volt Christmas Party.

DECEMBER 21: Second on the bill with a number of highly professional soul bands, Kozmic Blues gets a cool reception at Memphis’s Mid South Coliseum.


FEBRUARY 1: A sympathetic but damaging review of their performance “Memphis Debut,” by Stanley Booth, appears in Rolling Stone.

FEBRUARY 8: Albert Grossman books the band for “the most obscure venue we could find,” Rindge, New Hampshire, for a “sound test.”

FEBRUARY 9: “Preview” concert at Boston Music Hall.

FEBRUARY 11 – FEBRUARY 12: Fillmore East concerts get mixed reaction.

MARCH 4: CBS – TV’s 60 Minutes – “Carnegie Hall for Children.”

MARCH 15: Devastating review of Fillmore concerts and interviews with Janis in Rolling Stone. “Janis: The Judy Garland of Rock?” by Paul Nelson, is the cover story.

MARCH 18: The Ed Sullivan Show.

MARCH 20 – MARCH 22: Winterland.

MARCH 23: The Fillmore West.

MARCH 24: Ralph Gleason, in the San Francisco Chronicle, suggests that Janis should “go back to Big Brother, if they’ll have her.”

APRIL-MAY: European tour.

APRIL 4 – APRIL 12: Frankfurt concert filmed by German television (on Janis soundtrack album).

APRIL 13 – APRIL 30: Appearances in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Paris.

APRIL 21: Albert Hall concert in London. Rave reviews in Disc, Melody Maker, Telegraph, etc.

JUNE: Sessions for Kozmic Blues album begin in Columbia’s Hollywood studios.

JUNE 5: The Atlanta Pop Festival.

JUNE 20 – JUNE 22: Appearance at the three-day “Newport Pop Festival” held at Devonshire Downs in Northridge, California.

JULY 18: First appearance on Dick Cavett Show.

JULY 19: Forest Hills, New York.

AUGUST 3: Sings duet with Little Richard at the Atlantic City Pop Festival.

AUGUST 16: Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York. Sam Andrew gives last performance with the group. Replaced by John Till.

AUGUST 31: International Pop Festival in Lewisville, Texas.

SEPTEMBER: Janis’s lawyer brings suit against ad agency for Janis Joplin “rip off” used in TV commercial.

SEPTEMBER 1: New Orleans Pop Festival at the Baton Rouge International Speedway in Prairieville, Louisiana.

SEPTEMBER 20: The Hollywood Bowl.

OCTOBER: Austin and Houston.

NOVEMBER: Kozmic Blues released.

NOVEMBER 16: Charged with two counts of using vulgar and obscene language on stage during Curtis Hall concert in Tampa.

NOVEMBER 23: Auditorium Hall in Chicago.

NOVEMBER 27: Sings with Tina Turner at Rolling Stones concert at Madison Square Garden.

NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 1: West Palm Beach Rock Festival.

DECEMBER: Appearance in Nashville. Moves into new house in Larkspur, California.

DECEMBER 10: Rochester War Memorial Concert (Janis Joplin, Grand Funk , and opener Fat Jessie)

DECEMBER 19 – DECEMBER 20: Madison Square Garden concert. Joined on Stage by Johnny Winter and Paul Butterfield. Is “romantically linked” with Joe Namath. Other appearances in 1969 include the ABC-TV’s Tom Jones Show, the Quaker City Rock Festival/Philadelphia, the Civic Center/Baltimore, ABC-TV’s show Music Scene, and the Toronto Pop Festival/Canada.


JANUARY: Kozmic Blues disbanded.

FEBRUARY: Flies to Rio, Brazil, for Carnival. Plans a long vacation to “get off drugs and dry out.”

APRIL: Assembles third and last group, Full Tilt Boogie.

APRIL 2: Gets tattoos on her wrist and over her heart, “One for the boys.”

APRIL 4: Fined $200.00 in absentia on obscenity charges in Tampa.

APRIL 4: Reunion with Big Brother at the Fillmore West.

APRIL 12: Plays with Big Brother at Winterland (on Live).

APRIL 20: Announces from Rio that she is “going off into the jungle with a big bear of a man” – Nick Niehaus.

APRIL 28: Records “One Night Stand” with Paul Butterfield at Columbia’s Studio D in Hollywood (on Farewell Song).

MAY: Full Tilt play their first gig on the same bill with Big Brother and their new lead singer Nick Gravenites (recorded live for Be a Brother) at a Hell’s Angels dance at Pepperland in San Rafael. Also play the University of Florida at Gainesville, in Jacksonville, Florida, the Bar-B Ranch in Miami.

JUNE 12: Full Tilt play Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. Also play Kansas City, Santa Ana and San Bernardino.

JUNE 25: Dick Cavett Show.

JUNE 28 – JULY 4: “Festival Express” tour across Canada (on Live).

JULY 8: Hawaiian concerts.

JULY 10: Sings at birthday celebration for Ken Threadgill in Austin.

JULY 11: Full Tilt and Big Brother share billing in San Diego.

AUGUST 1 – AUGUST 2: Forest Hills, New York.

AUGUST 3: Last appearance on Dick Cavett (with Raquel Welch and Chet Huntley).

AUGUST 4: Performance in Ravinia, Illinois.

AUGUST 6: Performance at Shea Stadium Peace Festival.

AUGUST 8: Performance at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York.

AUGUST 12: Gives last performance, at Harvard Stadium.

AUGUST 13: Flies to Port Arthur.

AUGUST 14: Attends high school reunion.

SEPTEMBER: Pearl sessions in Los Angeles.

OCTOBER 3: Janis listens to instrumental of final track scheduled for Pearl: Nick Gravenite’s “Buried Alive In The Blues.” She plans to record vocal the following day.

OCTOBER 4: At 1:40 a.m., alone in her room at the Landmark Hotel, Janis O.D.’s from a combination of heroin and alcohol.